Zubiri here we come!
Only 790 km to go! It’s only going to take us another four years.
We took this photo as we left Roncesvalles to continue our walk to Zubiri. Full of the joys of spring, little did we know, how tough the walk ahead of us would be.
This will give you an idea of the gradient. The image is from the Rother Walking Guide, which I found to be one of the most informative guides for walking the Camino de Santiago.
Meeting the locals
We walked a distance of 22kms today, up and down, in intense heat. We had hit the road early hoping to get as far as we could before the sun would be at its hottest. It was predominately forest paths and farm tracks, but we still had quite a way to go on open paths with no shade.
It was heaven when we would eventually come to trees and stand beneath them to escape the relentless heat of the sun. Hats and sun block were a must.
We passed through small towns such as Burguete, (where the writer Ernest Hemingway stayed in 1924), Espinal and Linzoain.
Between Linzoain and Zubiri we passed a memorial to a 64 year old Japanese man who died in 2002 while walking the Camino.
When we reached Alto Erro, which is 3.70 km from Zubiri, we stopped at a food truck which provides snacks and drinks all year round to pilgrims. We were also able to get our pilgrim passport stamped here.
Anyone looking for a husband or wife – take note of the sign at the food truck. Apparently in years gone by the owner of the food truck put out a basket to collect unwanted items from pilgrims for charity. One year a pilgrim left her uncomfortable underwear in the basket, (girls you need the comfy knickers!), and shortly after she met the love of her life on the Camino. In fact, they ended up getting married on the Camino.
So as the sign says….’magic works’. Or maybe it had more to do with the fact she wasn’t wearing any underwear!
Two Irish guys, Gary and Denis, were having a break at the food truck. We began chatting; or more accurately, Gary chatted while Denis made it obvious he did not want to talk. That’s his prerogative, not everyone can find us scintillating company!!
“It’s okay if you don’t like me. Not everyone has good taste.” (No idea who said this, but I like it!)
Gary looked like a young guy without a care in the world. We later found out that he had been the sole carer of his mother for five years, while she battled Motor neurone disease. She had only died six months earlier and walking the Camino was a way of dealing with his grief. And once again, we were reminded, despite the fun and laughs, sadness and heartbreak accompanies so many pilgrims on their journey.
After walking about eight hours, we eventually came to Zubiri. It was steep on the way down and the last hour of walking was very hard on the knees. Smiling here, but exhausted.
Our friend, Heather, whom we met in the Orisson, was still walking with us. No, we hadn’t scared her off. She must have the patience of a saint!
Approaching the bridge into Zubiri across the river Arga. Zubiri is a tiny village of approximately 400 people and its name means, ‘village of the bridge’. The bridge itself is known as, The Rabies Bridge, and legend has it that any animal passing under its arches can be cured of any illness, including rabies.
As soon as we arrived in Zubiri, our first misson was to find somewhere to sleep. The first two places we tried were full; we began to feel a bit like Mary and Joseph….no room for us at the inn. This was our first experience of having nowhere to stay, and being tired, hot and grumpy, anxiety levels were rising. Our easy going, ‘we are laid back, just take it as it comes’ attitude, went right out the window! Apart from Fiona, who lay on the grass and declared she would sleep there for the night, as she couldn’t walk another step!
“Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.” Anthony Burgess
We tried the Albergue Municipal, very cheap at only 8 euro for the night, and if we had been a crowd of teenagers, it would’ve been fine. But it was crowded and chaotic and in Alice’s words, ‘yes, we are roughing it, but we don’t want to rough it that much!’
‘My idea of “roughing it” is when room service is late.’ Unknown
Luckily, we managed to find a bed at a private albergue; El palo de avellano, ( 29 euro for bed and breakfast with three course meal, wine included!) More information at www.elpalodeavellano.com.
Both of the above photos are from their website: http://elpalodeavellano.com/en/home as they looked much better than my own.
I would definitely recommend this place. The staff couldn’t do enough for us and it was very clean. There were six bunks to a room and I ended up with a handsome French man under me; that will probably be the only time in my life I shall be able to say that.
There was a communal games room and garden area to chill out and relax in. A few of us met up with a Spanish lady in the garden while trying out some yoga moves. She joined in, and before we knew it, we were all doing the downward dog together! Sorry there are no photos of this lovely sight.
However, I have to say I drew the line at lying on the grass, as there were a couple of cats running about and I wasn’t quite sure where they had last relieved themselves. Last thing I needed was cat s*** in my hair or anywhere else for that matter.
You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food. Paul Prudhomme
We ate our delicious meal in the communal dining room, which was another opportunity to meet fellow pilgrims and share stories. Mi-yong, a very young looking South Korean lady sat with us for dinner. She was in her forties with a grown up family and she was walking the Camino on her own. She looked about 25! We want to know the Korean’s secret to looking young? Please tell us!
As the wine flowed, we talked like old friends. The best remedy for breaking down the language barrier…….red wine!
“Wine and friends are a great blend.” Ernest Hemingway
Before she left the next morning, and while we were at breakfast, she left each of us a lucky charm on our pillows. How lovely was she? We hoped we would bump into her again somewhere along our journey.
Leaving early the next morning.